US Department of Justice May 23: Lawsuit Against Live Nation-Ticketmaster

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Columns of a courthouse. PC Colin Lloyd via Unsplash

In a breaking lawsuit, the Department of Justice is suing Live Nation-Ticketmaster for monopolistic practices. Read below to understand its impact on ticket prices.

Why the DOJ is suing Live Nation-Ticketmaster

On Thursday, May 23, 2024, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) published the press release, Justice Department Sues Live Nation-Ticketmaster for Monopolizing Markets Across the Live Concert Industry. Although this lawsuit has been rumored for some time, the move is groundbreaking nonetheless.

As the reporter, Alina Seljuk, on NPR’s Up First put it, “Live-Nation Ticketmaster has tentacles in every part of live entertainment.” Seljuk is exactly right, the Department of Justice argues through the significant market share of Live Nation-Ticketmaster, they’ve been able to unfairly control many (if not all) aspects of the live entertainment industry. These include purchasing tickets, determining which artists can play and when, owning clubs, and determining what terms and conditions these deals are made.

This last point has raised some shocking stories from artists and venues reporting outlandish fees and stipulations which they have no power to fight against. Artists big and small from Pearl Jam to Clyde Lawrence have been outspoken to this broken system calling for the firm’s separation.

Read the full complaint here.

Live Nation-Ticketmaster response

In response, Live Nation-Ticketmaster Executive VP of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Dan Wall, published a rebuttal to the DOJ, Update: Breaking Down the DOJ Lawsuit. In the post, Wall covers four key points arguing against the lawsuit stating:

  1. “This lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster won’t reduce ticket prices or service fees.”
  2. “There is more competition than ever in the live events market — which is why Ticketmaster’s market share has declined since 2010.”
  3. “Net profits show Live Nation and Ticketmaster do not wield monopoly power.”
  4. “This lawsuit distracts from real solutions that would decrease prices and protect fans — like letting artists cap resale prices.”

What the company doesn’t acknowledge is that all players in the industry, from artists to promoters, could benefit from a more balanced power dynamic.

What does this mean for your ticket prices?

With all this, Live-Nation-Ticketmaster is correct on one point. Even if the conglomerate breaks up, ticket prices may remain unchanged due to a variety of factors like scalpers reselling tickets at huge margins. But we’ll have to wait and see.

Regardless of ticket prices, control over such a broad spectrum of any industry raises alarms for monopolistic practices and these go back to 1994 with Ticketmaster. Currently, monopolies are a huge issue in the United States. This impacts you, the consumer, worst of all with higher prices and lack of choice to use competitors.

If curious, Forbes wrote about this issue in their America Has A Monopoly Problem article a few years back.

Want more on the music industry?

Check out similar UgS pieces covering how CSRD is impacting the music industry and the top music industry jobs in May 2024. Don’t forget to join our Telegram Squad and our mailing list to keep up to date with all developing stories too.

Written by Louis Rouffaud

Louis Rouffaud is a sustainability professional with a Master in Sustainability and Energy Management from Bocconi University, writing content on sustainability in the music industry. He is also a hip-hop and R&B enthusiast.

Image courtesy of Techivation via Unsplash

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